When you hear the term ‘yoga’, what springs to mind? Women clad in brightly coloured yoga pants? Ladies contorted into unimaginable positions? Or a group of middle aged ‘hippies’, congregating in a forest to meditate? Yep – this may be right for some, yet yoga can be beneficial to just about anyone – males and females, with any lifestyle or goal:
Strength training, CrossFit, Powerlifting, Endurance, or just the casual gym go-er!
Benefit #1: Reduce DOMS
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness is common to those who regularly undertake physical activity such as resistance or weight training.
Even if fast paced, heart pumping gym sessions are your kind of thing, incorporating yoga just once a week can still be of benefit to you. It’ll help to stretch out, lengthen and increase blood flow to tightened muscles, aiding your recovery so you can go and kill another workout.
Benefit #2: Improve ROM and flexibility
The easier you move and better range of movement you have, the easier it will be to perform an exercise – particularly compound movements such as squats and deadlifts. Especially if you are regularly using weights, the better you move, the easier it will be to get that PB!
Benefit #3: Reduce Stress Levels
High stress levels are bad news all around for your health. High blood pressure, trouble sleeping, and anxiety are all common symptoms.
The stretching, controlled breathing and meditating releases muscular tension and focuses the mind away from daily stresses, and essentially making you ‘switch off’.
After a yoga session, your heart rate and blood pressure should be lower than when you started.
Benefit #4: Weight loss
That’s right. Ever heard of Hot or Bikram Yoga? Performed in a room at about 40C, this will make you work up an impressive sweat from areas you didn’t know it was possible to sweat from.
The heat increases your pulse rate, and can help speed up your metabolism…just be sure to take plenty of water with you!
Benefit #5: Fat loss
High stress levels produces high cortisol levels. Cortisol is the hormone that helps stimulate the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats into energy, and therefore the release of insulin to your blood as your body enters the ‘fight or flight’ mode, in order to prepare itself to respond quickly in a stressful situation.
Once this period of stress ceases, and the high blood sugar level still remains, the excess is likely to be stored as fat. So taking some time out to reduce your overall stress levels could prove highly beneficial!
Take Home Message
Try and incorporate a little more stretching-based exercises into your training.
Go ahead and try a yoga class to start reap these amazing benefits!